Lisa Hamp

Active Minds Speaker

Lisa Hamp is a survivor of the Virginia Tech shooting and a speaker for Active Minds.

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About Lisa

Lisa Hamp is a survivor of the Virginia Tech shooting that took place on April 16, 2007. Unsure how to deal with the post-traumatic stress, she internalized her feelings and developed into an eating disorder to cope. Eight years after the shooting, she sought counseling and began her recovery.

In her raw and powerful presentation, Lisa shares her struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, an eating disorder, and infertility to help others who may be struggling with mental health issues. She is an advocate for trauma survivors and provides concrete advice on finding your new normal after trauma. She discusses the importance of self-care, the benefits of counseling, and shares what you can do to help someone struggling with a mental health disorder.

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She is passionate about reducing the stigma associated with mental health disorders. She shares a message of hope and courage to those who may be struggling, as well as family and friends who are in supporting roles. Her work has been featured in The Washington Post, Huffington Post, SELF Magazine and VICE.

Lisa has a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Virginia Tech, a Master’s degree in Operations Research from George Mason University, and a Master’s degree in Economics from John Hopkins University. Lisa lives with her husband, Eric, their two daughters, Grace and Mackenzie, and their golden retriever, Summer just outside of Washington, DC.

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Booking information

Key topics

  • Anxiety
  • Community Response to Tragedy
  • Eating Disorders
  • Faculty/Staff Trainings
  • First Responders
  • Self-Care/Recovery
  • Trauma


Lisa's Presentation Options

Lisa Hamp shares her journey struggling and eventually recovering from an eating disorder. She combines her personal experience with data-based research and findings in the eating disorder field for a unique and impactful presentation. Lisa encourages audiences to change the conversation we are having about our bodies, from body shaming to being body positive. She provides audience members with a list of self-care practices to help navigate difficult and stressful times, as well as ways to support ourselves or someone else with an eating disorder. By openly discussing eating disorders, this presentation aims to reduce the stigma associated with mental health.

Lisa Hamp shares her experience surviving the Virginia Tech Shooting that took place on April 16, 2007, and her journey to recovery afterwards. She describes how she struggled to return to a “normal’ life during the weeks, months, and years that followed. Through her motivational and inspirational presentation, she shares a variety of hard, but powerful lessons she has learned since that tragic day. She provides her unique perspective on PTSD, trauma, counseling, recovery, self-care, and community response to tragedy.

Lisa Hamp will share her personal experience surviving and recovering from the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 while offering best practices for fostering a safe school environment. She provides specific, practical ways school administrators can proactively create safe school environments, including appropriate and adequate mental health support. Audiences are left with tangible skills to address school safety through a mental health lense. By discussing this important topic, it helps students, teachers, and community leaders feel better prepared in the unlikely event of an active shooter or other crisis.


Learning Objectives: Lisa will: 

  • Offer effective solutions for supporting a campus through a crisis, such as letting students know that their feelings associated with the fear and trauma are valid and that asking for help is a sign of strength. 
  • Explain the importance of cultivating an environment where everyone in the school system feels safe physically and mentally. 
  • Discusses mental health considerations during emergency drills and best practices on how to support mental health throughout the school year. 

Lisa Hamp shares her personal journey to recovery after surviving the Virginia Tech Shooting that took place on April 16, 2007. She recalls the post-traumatic stress symptoms, anxiety, and nightmares that she experienced and how that evolved to an eating disorder as a coping mechanism. Lisa shares her perspective on how to cope with and navigate post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. She shares how to safely process uncomfortable emotions so that she can be a voice for others who have experienced trauma. Through her motivational and inspirational presentation, she shares a variety of difficult, but powerful lessons she has learned since that tragic day in 2007 at Virginia Tech. She provides her unique perspective on PTSD, trauma, counseling, recovery, and self-care.



Travel information

Lisa travels from Washington, DC


View testimonials

“Lisa shares a profoundly important perspective to what it means to be a survivor and resilient leader, her voice helps each of us realize our own responsibility in keeping safety and security a community priority.”

Kristina Anderson
Executive Director, Koshka Foundation for Safe Schools

“Lisa Hamp is one of the most courageous people I have ever met.  Her story is one that we all should hear. It is a story of strength, intellect, perseverance and ultimately, grace.  Lisa reminds us that we are all scared by the senseless violence affecting our society. She also shows us that with faith, all things are possible.”

Robert Boyd
Executive Director, Secure Schools Alliance

“Loved this presentation. So much motivation! One of the best Wellness Wednesdays.

“Very powerful! I absolutely loved it. I learned a lot.”



Active Minds Blog - LIsa Hamp

“When an emergency such as a school shooting occurs, the next few days and following weeks are filled with moments of silence, candle light vigils, and memorial services. As the weeks go by, these events slowly dissipate, and the school is left to try to figure out how to endure the months and years to come.

Schools are most effective at creating safe environments for their students when they proactively encourage students to talk about how they are feeling and promote openness and active listening. Most importantly, we want students and the academic community to know that it is OK to not feel OK.”

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“To those impacted by the shooting, you may feel a rush of overwhelming feelings as you reflect on the past year and look ahead to next. Tragic flashbacks running through your head and you can’t seem to get away from your emotions. Outside pressure for what you will do or how you will mark the day may be overwhelming. Pause. Breathe, and breathe again. These feelings are normal. If you wait a little longer and focus on your breathing, the uncomfortable emotions will eventually pass. When the sun rises on February 15, 2019, the first anniversary of the worst day of your life will pass too. It may feel like a weight has been lifted from your chest.”

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“To fellow survivors: It may feel selfish to ask for mental health resources when others were killed or wounded but, the truth is that we deserve support and should not feel ashamed to reach out. We may be in denial that we need resources or recognition. We may have trouble raising our hands and advocating for ourselves. And that makes sense. Our trauma may tell us that our experience isn’t “as bad” as the others and that we can “tough it out.” I’m here to say that you deserve to be heard and supported.”

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Campus Safety magazine had the pleasure of hosting Lisa as one of our keynote speakers this summer. Her presentation focused on the often-overlooked reality that a person does not need to be physically injured to be traumatized and physically affected by a tragedy. So powerful was her presentation that it brought me to tears knowing that I, as well as our society as a whole, have ignored the needs of our “walking wounded” for too long. In her presentation, Lisa effectively and powerfully covers a topic that must get more attention. She also offers lessons that will help others address this issue appropriately.

Robin Hattersley

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